The ideas behind the development of charter schools began in the 1950s. However, credit for beginning the charter school movement generally goes to former American Federation of Teachers President Albert Shanker. Shanker called for reform to public schools in the late 1980s that inspired states to pass legislation permitting the establishment of charters. Minnesota took the lead in 1991, creating the nation’s first legislated charter school
, which opened the following year.
The charter school movement was borne out of the nation’s desire to improve education. This has long been a point of emphasis in our country, and is often a hallmark of presidential debates and congressional action. However, determining the best way to prepare the country’s youth for post-secondary education and the workforce can sometimes be difficult to do. Parents have many options for their child’s education, including charter schools, traditional public schools, private schools, magnet schools or homeschooling. But when it comes to the debate between charter schools and public schools, recent data
collected by Mathematica Policy Research reveals that charter schools seem to be doing a better job of graduating students and preparing them for life after high school.
According to Mathematica, the graduation rate at charter schools is between 7-11 percent higher than public schools in the same area. Even for at-risk students, who may not have the financial, social, or family resources that other students enjoy, graduation is more likely at a charter school. Furthermore, students who graduate from charter schools are 10-11 percent more likely to enroll in college. Better still, charter school graduates are more likely to complete at least two years of study at a two or four-year college than their public-school peers.
Charter schools have a good track record of producing results, even in the most difficult circumstances. Charters in low-income and urban school districts post significant student gains
in achievement in math, science, social studies and reading. These gains are directly attributed to the out-of-the-box thinking upon which charter schools are based. Many schools use longer school days, tougher...